Gamers to Blame For NBN Co’s Slowdown?
Video games get blamed for a lot of things.
The National Broadband Network’s (NBN) CEO has blamed ‘gamers’ for slow speeds in parts of the network, saying they’re using up too much data.
NBN Co is insisting its CEO Bill Morrow only singled out online gamers as an “example” of heavy users that contributed to overloading the system in periods of peak demand, rather than “blaming” them for congestion.
The body responsible for the rollout of the National Broadband Network issued a statement clarifying CEO Bill Morrow’s comments in a parliamentary committee on Monday, which triggered an angry response from gamers on social media.
“Mr Morrow didn’t ‘blame’ online gamers for congestion on the fixed wireless network,” the NBN Co spokesperson told ABC News.
But experts say this is just wrong.
Here’s an article from December 2016 – about 18 months ago: How much data does gaming use? A handful of popular examples
“Believe it or not, some of the biggest online games use very little data while you’re playing compared to streaming HD video or even high-fidelity audio.”
“Where streaming 4K video can use as much as 7 gigabytes (GB) per hour and high-quality audio streaming gets up to around 125 megabytes (MB) per hour, (but usually sits at around half that) certain online games use as little as 10MB per hour.”
Who wrote that article? The NBN.
The article goes on to say that some games can use up to 1 gigabyte per hour for live gameplay, although this is at the very extreme end of the spectrum. Even then, the game is still using seven times less data than streaming 4K video.
This week, NBN CEO Bill Morrow appeared before a parliamentary committee to discuss how the NBN was being rolled out in regional Australia. He said his company had seen a significant increase in data consumption on its fixed wireless network – this is a relatively small part of the national network set aside for premises that aren’t connected to the fibre of copper network. It will use radio signals and transmission towers spread across the country to connect about 600,000 thousand premises.
Morrow suggested that “gamers predominantly” were to blame for the congestion across the National Broadband Network. He later clarified that he wasn’t blaming gamers for congestion, but reiterated that they are “heavy users”.
Data provided by price comparison website WhistleOut paints a different picture. An average Internet user watching any of the popular tv/movie stream services will be using vastly more bandwidth than one playing any of the top online games.
The internet savvy amongst us and gamers of course piled in to defend against the attack from NBN Co. First and foremost former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam who spent many hours questioning NBNCo in Senate Estimes.
This fresh saga comes as the company operating the network, NBN Co., considers capping data use during peak times in order to overcome fixed wireless congestion problems.
While some games and systems have the potential to be big data users, particularly those requiring users to frequently download updates or add-ons, the consensus among gamers is the majority of online gaming does not use enough data to warrant limitation.
A data cap already applies to NBN satellite users – who access the network via signals from orbiting satellites, not from transmission towers on the ground.
The policy limits peak-hour data usage to a maximum of 75 gigabytes per four week period, per person.